Checking the signs

Checking the signs

It's Virgo time! Let your inner perfectionist shine from Aug. 23-Sept. 22.

An earth sign (modest, humble and analytical), Virgos live for work and selfless commitment -- think Baltimore Orioles ironman Cal Ripken Jr., who was born Aug. 24, 1960. Doggedly remaining in the lineup despite numerous injuries, he played a record 2,632 straight games, spanning 16 seasons.

Another meticulous Virgo is Houston Astros starting pitcher Roy Oswalt. Born Aug. 29, 1977, in Weir, Miss., this methodical Virgo is currently in his seventh Major League season. Oswalt's a loyal Virgo, who's spent his entire career in the Astros organization. Blessed with the inside track on practical productivity, Virgos' strong work ethic is a sight to behold.

Before the 2007 season, Oswalt received the second-highest Player Value Ranking among pitchers in Sports Illustrated's baseball preview edition. He was rated the best in the National League, ahead of Brandon Webb and Chris Carpenter, the two most recent Cy Young Award winners, and only ranked below the 2006 Triple Crown winner, Johan Santana.

Virgos are masters of efficiency, and Oswalt is known as a fast worker in terms of time between pitches. Despite his small frame, he is one of baseball's hardest hurlers and frequently appears among the league leaders in innings pitched.

Oswalt is currently considered one of the elite pitchers in the National League. Through Wednesday, this industrious Virgo has compiled a 112-53 record with a 3.09 ERA and an impressive 3.62 strikeout-to-walk ratio (1,158 to 320) in 1,392 1/3 innings pitched. He posted a 20-12 record in 2005 with a 2.94 ERA, repeating his 20-win performance of 2004. He was the ace of an impressive Houston Astros staff that included Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.

Birthdays are auspicious occasions and last year on Aug. 29 -- Roy's 29th birthday and Saturn return -- he signed a five-year extension with the Houston Astros, totaling $73 million, with an option for a sixth year. A three-time All-Star, Oswalt has the most career victories for active pitchers younger than 30. For Virgos, concrete results are sure motivators. Awesome attention to detail yields extraordinary results.

Aries (March 21-April 19): This month is a wake-up call to exercise more and procrastinate less. Your eating habits can use some healthy transformation as well. Venus turns direct on Saturday, when romance blooms anew. Money matters also improve, though it may take a month to see positive effects.
Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer is an energetic Aries.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): Look for exciting changes in the relationship arena. The catalyst is Saturn, moving into your fifth house of romance, creating stability. As far as finance is concerned, less is more. Listen to your inner voice and be mindful of purchases this month. Health wise, it's a fine time to schedule an annual health checkup.
Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder is a determined Taurus.

Gemini (May 21-June 20): Your home life will be a major focus for the next two years, as Saturn moves into that sector. It also means you could be taking on new domestic responsibilities that may interfere with work demands. Meanwhile, you are a bundle of energy with Mars in your sign till the 28th. Go for it!
San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy is a versatile Gemini.

Cancer (June 21-July 22): If you haven't had a chance to take a summer vacation, schedule one now. When Mars moves into your sign after the 28th, work becomes very demanding. It's all about attitude, and with favorable aspects and an upbeat approach, you can handle anything. Saturn in your third house of communication can also bring a soul mate with significant knowledge to share.
New York Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado is an emotional Cancer.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): There's a lot on your plate this month. With Saturn moving into Virgo last Sunday in your second house of finances, money may be a bit tight over the next couple of years. The good news you have learned from Saturn is that frugality can be a good thing. Pluto shifts in Sagittarius on Friday, suggesting a stalled romance is likely to move forward.
Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Juan Pierre is an exciting Leo.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Saturn, planet of karma and responsibility, moved into your sign on Sunday, beginning a cycle of dutiful, hard work. It's time to buckle down and give your all to any endeavors you wish to see succeed. Any work-related power struggles should be taken with a grain of salt.
Los Angeles Angels infielder Maicer Izturis is a serious Virgo.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 23): This is your month for tying up loose ends and finishing projects. You have plenty of motivation to do this, as Saturn moved into Virgo on Sunday. It's good to complete current projects before the sun moves into Libra on the 23rd -- then it's party time for outgoing Libra.
Washington Nationals pitcher Joel Hanrahan is a helpful Libra.

Scorpio (Oct. 24-Nov. 21): Saturn left your career house on Sunday, and shifted into Virgo, enhancing friendships and group involvements. Finances are looking up too, once Pluto turns direct on Friday. Mars in Gemini, in your eighth house of joint finances, indicates that you and your significant others may have some issues to work through. The full moon in Aries on the 26th highlights health and wellness.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. is a powerful Scorpio.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Career goals turned serious when Saturn moved into your 10th house on Sunday. You feel the need to show others you can play in the Majors. Pluto turns direct in your sign on Friday, which gives added momentum to your success. You may have to spend extra time at work, but it will pay dividends in the future.
Atlanta Braves pitcher Rafael Soriano is an upbeat Sagittarius.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Matters of higher education, long-distance travel and religious beliefs are all destined to hit the forefront in months to come. Capricorns who are job hunting should send out resumes or take job-training classes this month. The sun in your 10th house after the 23rd is lucky for professional goals.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels is a goal-oriented Capricorn.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): With Mars transiting through clever Gemini, you can make the best use of all your unique and creative ideas. Saturn moved into Virgo on Sunday, making you more conscious of the way you spend money, especially funds shared with others. Protect resources and financial data and double check your credit report.
Detroit Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez is an unconventional Aquarius.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Saturn moved into Virgo on Sunday, pushing Pisces toward more committed relationships. Those of you who are already married can expect to take on more responsibilities. After months of retrograde motion, Pluto turns direct in your career house on Friday, making it easier to get along with coworkers and authority figures.
Baltimore Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard is an intuitive Pisces.

Andrea Mallis, Sports Astrologer, is a devoted baseball fan and writer. Mallis has appeared on ESPN SportsCenter, ESPN News, ESPN2 Cold Pizza, Baseball Tonight and ESPN All-Night Radio. She's written for Major League Baseball magazines, ESPN.com Page 2, MLB.com, as well as appearing on local TV and radio shows. Mallis was recently featured in "FantasyLand," a book on fantasy baseball. For more information, please visit www.virgoinservice.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.